Wildcats drop heartbreaker against Itawamba 67-69
Richard Gleber - PRCC Sports
POPLARVILLE, Miss. – The No. 24 Pearl River men’s basketball team (11-2 overall; 2-1 MACCC) dropped a close game, 69-67, to visiting Itawamba on Thursday night inside Marvin R. White Coliseum. The Wildcats fought back from an 18-point deficit to have a chance to send the game to overtime. The comeback bid fell short after a Jermarhi Hill (Bessemer, Ala.; Berkmar) drive hit off the front of the rim with seconds remaining.
“We gave ourselves a chance. We should’ve taken care of business earlier in the game.” PRCC coach Chris Oney added, “One shot or one possession does not win or lose a game. Credit to them, they played tough.
“This time of the year brings the good and bad out of you. There were things we did that were uncharacteristic.”
PRCC started fast with an emphatic dunk by Ayub Nurhussein (Hamilton, Ontario; Toronto Basketball Academy) off a pass from Dylan Brumfield (Oak Grove) for the game's first two points.
Through the first ten minutes of the first half, both teams traded baskets as neither team could build any momentum. The Wildcats, through the offensive play of Carlous Williams (Hattiesburg; Harrison Central), were able to claw their way to a 15-10 lead before Itawamba went on a 10-point run and build a 20-15 lead.
The Wildcats were not able to take advantage of free throw opportunities and Itawamba was able to extend their lead to 12, 38-26 by halftime.
Itawamba was able to build on the momentum from the first half as they extended their lead to 15 within the first three minutes of the half. The Wildcats continued to play hard in these first few minutes and were aided with blocks by Preston Turner (Laurel; West Jones) and Ty Moore (Grenada). Despite the defensive efforts, Itawamba was able to build their biggest lead of the night, 18 points, 49-31.
A great reverse layup by Hill off a crisp pass from Cam Brown (Hattiesburg) gave the Wildcats the spark they needed to turn the momentum of the game. Hill was able to convert a free throw after being fouled on the play to cut the lead to 49-34.
Another block by Moore led to a basket by Williams and was followed by two free throws by Hill cut the Itawamba lead to 12, 49-37.
Itawamba was able to maintain a double-digit lead until Brumfield was able to get his layup off a drive to fall despite being fouled. After Brumfield converted the free throw, Itawamba’s lead was cut to eight, 57-49. Minutes later, Hill hit both free throws after being fouled to cut the Itawamba lead to five, 58-53.
Following an Itawamba shot clock violation, Williams cut the lead to three with a strong layup off an assist from Hill. The Wildcat defense came up big in the next two possessions leading to a double dribble on Itawamba's backcourt and a called charge with 5:24 left in the game.
After the Itawamba charge, Williams was able to make a one-point game, 58-57, on a nice turnaround jumper outside of the paint.
Ayub Nurhessien launches a shot for PRCC. Over the next few possessions, Itawamba was able to build their lead back to five points. The Wildcats battled back again and Nurhussein was able to cut the lead to one, 66-65, after hitting a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:03 left on the clock.
A strong offensive play by Hill gave the Wildcats a chance to win the game but the Itawamba defensive effort altered Hill’s shot and Itawamba secured a 69-67 win.
LEADING THE WAY Williams came off the bench to lead all scorers with 22 points. Hill added 18 points followed by Nurhussein with 9 points.
Turner led the Wildcats in rebounds with six (five defensive) and Moore had a game-high three blocks.
The Wildcats return to the court on Tuesday as they travel to take on Meridian. Tipoff inside the Graham Gymnasium is set for 6:00 PM.
CASHLESS BOX OFFICE
To help improve traffic flow and fan experience, PRCC athletics box offices will be cashless in 2022-23. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted at the box office. Fans are encouraged to beat the lines and purchase their tickets in advance at PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets.
Pearl River livestreams all home games for free at PRCCMedia.com/gold. Fans who have Roku, Amazon Fire, or Apple TV devices can also watch the Wildcat broadcasts by downloading the "Pearl River CC" channel from their app stores.
Games will also be available over the air in Pearl River County by tuning into 1320 AM and 106.9 FM. The radio broadcast is also available at WRJWRadio.com and by downloading the WRJW app.